While Captain Copyright has garnered significant attention over the past week, another group of educators have been targeted with a similar message. CRIA's Graham Henderson recently published an opinion piece in the Spring 2006 issue of the Recorder, the Journal of the Ontario Music Educators' Association titled Music Students Face Uncertain Prospects Because of Illegal Downloading. I can't find an online version of the article, but I think it is does merit comment. As the title suggests, CRIA's message for Canada's music educators is that many young people who dream of a career in music face severely limited prospects. The article says that "this is neither for lack of talent nor an eager audience. Both of those ingredients are as strong or stronger than ever, thanks in good part to the excellent work of Canada's music educators. The threat to music students' future success comes from rampant and uncurbed music file-swapping on the Internet."
This passage represents the high water mark of the article.
From there we learn that "the implications [of file sharing] are troubling, not only for those who dream a music career, but for those who believe in social values like honesty and respect for property, and for anyone hoping to make a living – in any field." [bold mine] If that wasn't bad enough, the harm of downloading extends to ideas themselves – "plagiarism has become a significant problem in our schools. If unchecked, we will graduate sloppy thinkers, less capable of creating original products of the mind that will in turn keep us competitive internationally."
Music teachers, therefore, face a major societal obligation. The article concludes by stating that they "can and should play a central role in the solution. It is time that educators begin a dialogue with their students about the harm caused by illegal downloading, not only to secure a better future for those who dream of a career in music, but to improve the prospects of all young people and society at large."
Even Captain Copyright would be left speechless with this parody-like piece.